A teenager is planning to sue her school for $2 million after administrators refused to publish her poem about George Floyd.
The family of 16-year-old Ruby Ray, a student at Vandermaulen High School in Port Jefferson, filed a notice of claim in Suffolk County Supreme Court.
The teen had written a sonnet called ‘Derek Chauvin’s Ode to George Floyd: A Dark Sonnet.’
Ruby’s parents say their daughter is being discriminated against by the mostly white school as her poem ‘promoted the cause of African-Americans.’
The notice alleges a violation of the girl’s First Amendment rights and comes after the one-year death anniversary of Floyd.
Speaking to the New York Post, Ruby said: “I thought this was a free country and you have the right to express yourself in any way you choose.”
The notice of claim alleges that the school’s administrators banned Ruby’s sonnet “in order to please, protect, promote, placate and defend white racism in Respondents’ school and community, and white racism in general.”
The claim adds that Ruby’s First Amendment rights have been violated as it names the school principal and faculty adviser for the literary magazine.
It also mentions that the community and the school district are made up by a large majority of white people.
According to the Post, the faculty adviser of the school magazine, English teacher Matthew Sefick, told Ruby in an email: “This is an emotionally charged piece no matter how you look at it, and emotions run deep in an audience. … There is no back and forth discussion the way that we are having, and that can be dangerous.”
According to the email seen by the Post, Principal Eric Haruthunian said the school would not publish the sonnet. District Superintendent Jessica Schmettan would not comment on the matter.
Ruby’s father, John Ray, accused the school of being racist.
“It’s just racist – that’s the only thing driving it,” John told the New York Post. “It’s a powerful poem. It says what has to be said.”
What are your thoughts on this? Let us know in the comments section and SHARE this story with your friends and family!